The town of Jalore is situated about 80 miles south of Jodhpur. It lies between Latitude 250, 21’ and Longitude 720, 35’. It is situated towards the south-west of the Jalore city. It is about 800 yards long and 400 yards wide. It crowns on mountain ranges of the Aravali hills and stand at an altitude of 1200 feet above the surrounding plains. The steep hill on the top of which the castle is situated has an ascent of about three miles (Antiquarians Remains in Marwar, p8). The circumference of the fort roughly covers an area of four and a half miles. There are twenty one “burzes” or notches. The eastern wall stands at height of 300 meters from the ground while the western wall is a little higher and measures 380 meters. The highest peak of the fort is in the south west measuring 438 meter while the lowest part in the north east with a height of only 280 meters.
The history of the fort has not been told in true perspective by historians. In the absence of any authentic work, it is almost difficult if to prepare a well-connected history. Yet from scanty and stray facts available, we have pieced them together fort history in a narrative form.
The most authentic sense about the history of the fort is the Sunda inscriptions which clearly state that Samarsinha, son of Kirtipal, founder of Sonigra dynasty at Jalore, built extensive ramparts and fortificahars on Suvarnagirl (Kanakachala) equipping them with machines of many kind (Sunda inscription, EI, IX, Vers. 48.38).
The inscription is of cardinal value as it names ‘Samarsinha’, the second ruler of the Sonigara dynasty as the builder, if not the founder of the fort. One thing is certain that the fort of Jalore was in existence in the year 1182 or 1239 A.D. Now two possibilities are clear. One, the fort was built by Songra Chouhan either Kirtipal or Samarsinha. Two, it was a Parmara preserve built by Vakpatiraja of the Jalore inscription (Visala Darmara’s inscription).
The Chronology of Jalore
Prior to the 12th century the history of Jalore is scattered and lies hidden in legends, folk tales, stray anecdotes, an ambiguous inscription and indirect allusions in books of Jaina Dharma. The historians task becomes all the move difficult as he has to weigh the truth of legendary facts, put them in prefer chronological sequence, connect the historical facts with subsequent ones – all stripped off their legendary and literary coverings.
The first authentic date for the history of Jalore is v. 1174 found in an inscription in the topkhana at Jalore (Early Chouhan Dynastries, D. Sharma pg. 145). It is clear from the inscription that the Parmars held sway over Jalore at the beginning of 12th century (The Six rules were Vakpatiraja, Chandana, Devraja, Vijjala, Dharavarsa and Visala). Six kings of the Parmara dynasty dominated the political scene at Jalore during the greater part of the eleventh century.
The next authentic date is v. 1238 when Kirtipal or ‘Kitu’ as Nainsi terms him wrested Jalore from the Parmaras (Khayat K, pg. 152). This Kirtipal, who is known as the founder of the Jalore line of Chauhans, was the son of Nadol ruler Achana, though the heir apparent of Nadol was Kelhano, the elder brother of Kirti Pal yet, Kirtipal had a substantial hand in the administration of the Nadol. The Sunda inscription testified the fact of Kirtipal having shouldered responsibility. The burden of administration took place somewhere in v. 1220 (Epigraphic Indica IX, pg. 77).
The period between v. 1220 and v. 1238, is again a dark period and Kirtipal during this period must have been consolidating his power and position in his own jagirs and twelve villages. Dr. Dashrath Sharma observes that Kirtipal helped the Chaulukya ruler in routing the forces of Muhammad Gori in the stiffly fought battle of Kashrada v. 1235 (Early Chouhan Dynasty, pg. 144).
Jalore and Siwana were ruled by the Parmara, Kuntapala and Viranarayan respectively. When Kirtipal wrested Jalore with the help of the Dahiyas (Mutha Nensi Khayat, I pg. 152).
It is said that Dahiyas were the first rulers of Jalore who chose this site and built a fort – the Dahiya’s Fort whose debris are still lying scattered around the present fort.
Probably the Dahiyas were supplanted by the Parmers and having lost their Kingdom the Dahiyas accepted the feudal the status of the courtiers and Darbaris and were involved in conspiracies to pull down the reigning ruler. Being the former rulers and local chieftains they knew all the ins and outs of the fort.
The details of Kirtipal’s reign are unfortunately not available to us and therefore we cannot recall his achievements with precision. Kirtipal was succeeded by his son Samara Sinha as it evident from the two Jalore inscriptions dated Vikrama era 1239 and 1256. These two inscriptions too do not shed any light on the history of the period. In the Sunda inscriptions Samara Sinha is credited with the building of ramparts on the Suwarnagiri at Jalore and of mounting of guns and of constructing store houses and battlements of vidhyadhari type (Khayat, I pg. 152). It was during the reign that Jalore came in possession of that exceedingly strong fortress (Eliott & Dorison, pg. 238). We do not know how long the reign of Samara Sinha lasted, but have an inscription dated v. 1262 of his son and successor Udaya Sinha (Bombay Gazetter, I, PLI, pg. 474-76) that is proof of changeover.
So taking the v. 1962 as the date of coming to power of Udai Sinha at Jalore, Dr. Dashrath Sharma has allotted him a period of 52 years for his reign (Early Chouhan Dynasties, pg. 148). The Sunda inscriptions throw light upon the extent of his reign. He is described as lord of the districts of Nadols, Jabalipura, Surachanda, Kehda, Ramasainya, Srimata and Satyapura (E, I IX pg. 73 Jalore was still called Jabalipura).
Manadayapura or Mandor was reconquered by Iltutmish in 1226 A.D., it was in Chouhan possession about 1242 AD and was conquered against by Jalaluddin Khalifi is 1294 AD. Vagabhatameru or Bhadmer was accruing to Naun, once the seat of Parmara Principality.
He is said to have scored a victory in a decisive battle with Lavanaprasada, the minister of Gujarat in v. 1278. A treaty was concluded and Udaisinha and avanprasada and later his son Vivadhavala faithfully honored the term of the treaty. Udaisinha even gave his daughter in marriage to Vivadhavala’s eldest son Vivam who in turn is killed by Udaisinha’s son Chachugdeva who according to Sunda inscription gets the credit of killing “Gunjara Lord Virama”.
The aggressions and annexations done by Udaisinha were the cost of the imperial territory.
The Muslim ruler at Delhi must have planned an expedition against the aggrandizement of Chauhans of Jalore. This was however, thwarted and the Delhi army had to suffer serious discomfiture at the hands of Chauhans (Puratana Prabhandhasangrah, pg. 50, Nainsi’s Khayat 1 pg. 153).
Iltutmish, the slave ruler of Delhi, at last led an army against the Jalore making allowance for all the hardships on the way and hazards on the battle field (Taju-I-Ma-asis writes about Jalore, “One might have thought that nothing that but the faces of demons and sprits could be seen and the means of escape were not on the tablet of even providential design. Udaisinha having calculated the dim chances of victory in advance sued for peace and peace was purchased with the tribute of consisting of houses, camels and cash. Udaisinha was left with his principality.
Udayasinha was succeeded by his son Chachigadeva as is evidenced by Sunda inscriptions of v. 1319. He seems to have preserved the patrimony and made some annexations to it. “He used the title of Maharajadhiraja as per Bhinmal inscription v. 1334. He was contemporary of Balban and Nasiruddin Muhammad (Early Chouhan Dynasty pg. 157).
Chachigdeva was succeeded by his son Samantasinha about v. 1339. In about v. 1353 Samantasinha allowed his son to carryout the duties of the administration of Jalore. Allauddin Khilji was on the throne of Delhi. He had decided to conquer Gujarat and destroy the temple of Somanath, in 1298. AD. He wanted permission of Chauhan ruler to allow his army to pass through Jalore territory. Kanahadder, therefore gave a definite “no” to Allauddin’s messengers (Kanhadadaprabandha, I V.V. 32-33). The army commanded by Ulgh Khan and Nasurat Khan marched through Mewar. Having sacked Somnath and imbued with a sense of pride the victorious generals marched through the Jalore Territory. Ulgh Khan (Atu Khan) stationed at Sankarno a village, 6 miles and not 18 miles at Dr. Dashrath Sharma has taken it.
Meanwhile the disaffection and discontent which had been gathering momentum among the rank and file of the army reached a climax and it took the life of Nushrat Khan’s brother and a nephew of Allahauddin. In the Melee and confusion that followed, the Hindu captives of Gujarat were liberated and the idols of Somnath fell into the hands of Kanhaddeva (Early Chouhan Dynasty, pg. 162).
Deeply mortified by being deprived of the fruits and glory of Gujarat war, Allauddin did not take up the Chastisement of Kanhadadev before 1305 AD. When Khalji army under Ala-ul-Mulk Multani stormed the fort of Jalore. At the initiation of Multani having realized the fertility of waging an unsuccessful war against the Muslim hoards, Kanhadadeva is said to have acknowledge the suzerainty of the Sultan and went to Delhi as a feudatory but the haughty attitude of Alluaddin wounded the sense of pride of the Rajput prince, he let drop a challenge of war and left the cant in an angry mood (Tarikh-I-Ferishta, Eng. Translation by Prof. m. Hahih pg. 378).
Soon after this incident, Allauddin sent an army under commanders Nahar Malik and Khandadhara Bhoja (Khanhadade Prabandha, 11, 49-57). The army attacked the fort of Siwana, Siwans was looked after by Sataladeva a nephew of Khanhadadeva. The Siwana army was reinforced by the Jalore army and the Khalysis not only lost the war but their commanders. Allauddin, having realized the strength of his powerful adversary, himself marched in June 1310 AD to repair his bruised reputation.
Where strength failed stratagem succeeded. Allauddin won over to his side one Bhayata, and through him got the water of the fort tank defiled by the cow’s blood. Having been deprived of water, the Rajputs opened the gates to measure swords with the advancing Muslim army while the ladies performed Johar (Ibid…II 148-167).
The fate of Siwana was sealed. Sataldeva was killed (Khazainul Futuh, 1929, pg. 375 & 377). Siwana was renamed as Khairabad (Kanhadade Prabandha, III pg. 105). Having effected the subjugation of Siwana, Allauddin hastened back to Delhi leaving instructions for his army to devastate Marwar. The army with reckless fury laid waste Barmer and destroyed a temple at Satyapura or Sanchore, he even burnt Bhinmal and carried away many Hindus as captives.
Kanhadadeva could not afford to be a passive spectator of all this drama of loot and arson. He collected a force and sent it under the command of two Devada chiefs. Jaita and Mahipa. Overjoyed at the initial success the chief came back to Jalore leaving the army. The enemy took advantage and killed all the Rajput army (Kanhadade Prabandha, III pg. 105). Emboldened by this success, the Khilaji army laid seize to the fort of Jalore for seven nights Viramdeva and Maladeva ‘led night sorties’ filling in the ditches and destroying stockades surrounding the Muslim camp (Early Chouhan Dynasties, pg. 166). On the eight, the Khilaji army was put to fight. The storm that had been brewing round Jalore for some time was thus averted.
Stung by this ignominious retreat, Allauddin collected an army larger than the last one and sent it under Kamaluddin laid the seize of the Jalore for and scrupulously cut off all sources of supply and reinforcement but Rajputs shut up in the fort could bear with an exemplary patience the hardships of the seize but fate conspired against them. One Bhika Dahiya disclosed the way through which the Khilaji army marched into the fort. A fiery battle ensued. The queens of Kanhadadeva had already performed Johar Kanhadadeve fell fighting and with his fall in v. 1371, the Sonigara dynasty disappeared.